The ruling communist party of Laos has chosen a new leader, putting Bounnhang Vorachit in charge of the single-party country as it takes its turn as the chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

The Lao state news agency KPL reported that the 10th Congress of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party closed Friday with the selection of Bounnhang, succeeding Choummaly Sayasone, who was party secretary general for 10 years. The change does not appear to herald major changes in the country's policies, which are closely tied to those of neighboring communist state Vietnam.

Bounnhang, 78, has been the country's vice president since 2006 and previously was prime minister and deputy prime minister.